Maintaining a Loaded Magazine


April 8, 2009, 10:10 PM
I favor my revolver for home defense partly because I'm concerned for my semi-auto's magazine springs, though I am quicker with a magazine over a speed loader. But I'm reconsidering my selection and would like hearing others' thoughts.

I've heard of cycling mags every few months or just letting the mag wait until the SHTF; I was concerned with easing the tension of a loaded mag's spring but I also hear that repeated loading and unloading - compressing and decompressing - would wear the spring faster than just letting it sit. And do folks load the mag all the way or leave it partially empty?

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Brian Dale
April 8, 2009, 10:19 PM
Step 1: don't worry about it.

Magazine springs wear from load/unload cycles. Load 'em and leave 'em or, better yet, rotate mags as you use up old ammo in practice.

I recently bought a Colt .22 Auto pistol made in about 1926. The bluing's almost all gone, but the mag works just fine. Pssst--magazine springs are Made Of Steel. Besides, Wolff will sell you all of the springs that you want. Buy a couple of extras just for fun. It's not a problem. :)

On the revolver question: I like revolvers just 'cause I'm cool like that. ;)

April 8, 2009, 10:30 PM
a mag spring will wear out going through cycles, not remaining compressed. And if the magazine was designed properly even then you shouldn't have problems, as long as the stress is kept below the fatigue limit.

we actually covered this subject in my materials engineering class a few weeks ago (not the subject exactly, but cyclical fatigue in springs and things like that.)

April 8, 2009, 10:33 PM
oops, double feed.

April 8, 2009, 10:45 PM
I agree that the springs are not an issue in storing a magazine loaded. However, some magazines may have feed lips which spread or crack when stored loaded over a long period of time. High quality steel feed lips shouldn't be a problem but I know that ACT 1911 mags had a problem with their feed lips cracking, though I don't know if this was related to storing them loaded.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, AR-15 GI spec mags (aluminum) have feed lips that may spread when stored loaded for a long period of time. That's one reason Magpul mags are popular.

Bottom line, don't worry about storing pistol mags loaded so long as you are using quality magazines.

April 8, 2009, 11:14 PM
On the revolver question: I like revolvers just 'cause I'm cool like that.

I like revolvers because they are cooler than I am, in a retro sort of way.:cool:

I'm just old.:(

April 8, 2009, 11:18 PM
I have glock mags loaded for 10 years, Just shot one recently to see and it worked fine

April 8, 2009, 11:43 PM
If you buy good quality mags, such as original factory mags or Mec Gar mags, you shouldn't have any problems with spring wear from keeping the mag loaded.

Now, if you buy "iffy" aftermarket mags that use cheap springs, they might be more suspectible to taking a set or have other problems due to corners being cut in the manufacturing process.

Btw, you should never have only one or two mags for any autoloading firearm. Mags do break or get damaged and if your only mags goes down, you are SOL.

April 8, 2009, 11:49 PM
Leave it loaded. But, use compressed air every few weeks and blow out any garbage that collects (clothes lint, dirt, etc.) that will accumulate during carrying it. I also blow out the pistol as well. The reason? After carrying one of my semi-autos for roughly three months, i used it just out of the blue (target practice) and it jammed after the first shot. I was certainly suprised. Anyway, when i got home, i tore it down and found a bunch of lint throughout the gun. Keep it clean! I was luckey that i did not need to use it for defense!

April 9, 2009, 03:42 PM
Thanks a lot for the feedback, guys. My mind's a lot more at ease now. :o

April 9, 2009, 08:52 PM
I have one magazine that I have always kept loaded and I have had it since 1974 and it still works great. Buy a good quality magazine and don't worry about it. Just don't buy a cheepy and you will be fine.

April 10, 2009, 11:56 AM
What wears out magazines is loading and unloading them constantly. If the magazine is of good quality and properly made, steady pressure on the springs is no issue at all. I've kept magazines loaded for upwards of 15 years, then taken them to range and used them without incident or issue.

April 10, 2009, 12:55 PM
Anyone have experience with these?:

TAPCO SKS 20rd Magazines?

We picked up a few for our SKS and I was concerned about this too.

On the other hand, I have a Browning HP 9mm that I've always kept the mags
full and have never had a problem with them feeding.

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